Dead Envy (2018)

In the early 2000’s, David Tangier’s band Katatonic Spin were the best band in the scene. But today, he owns a hair salon that might not make it another year. Yet all he can think about is one more album and feels like he’s all washed up. That’s when the mysterious Javy Bates shows up and David finds a new source of inspiration.

Dead Envy is written, directed by and starring Harley Di Nardo, someone who knows something about music. As the lead singer of Closer and White Light Motorcade, he’s gigged and toured for years. You can sense the desperation that he feels, knowing that he might have one great song still in him and wondering if a normal life is a prison that he’s not ready to be part of yet. Despite claiming that his wife Cecily (Samantha Smart) saved him, it never seems that he cares all that much for her.

Javy (Adam Reeser) saves David from a heckler at the club and soon insinuates himself into his life. He gets a job at the salon that the aging rocker owns with his wife, then drugs him at a club and sets him up to have an affair. This allows Javy to further insinuates himself into their lives, as he saves Cecily from an asthma/panic attack.

Between the affair and his need to be a star again, David neglects the salon and the electric bill. He goes to visit his landlord who is also a medium. She tells him that he has to beware of Javy coming into his life. That’s when we learn why David’s rock and roll life ended: he had to skip out on a European tour to take care of Cecily and they went on without him. He learns that she had a miscarriage and never told him.

Meanwhile, Cecily has brought Javy into their home for dinner, along with his other personality, a flickering demon who brings up his worst impulses. That’s when David has to come to terms with how his ego has blinded himself to just how great normal life — and having someone like Cecily — can be.

Dead Envy moves quickly and its cast may be unknown, but DiNardo, Reeser and Smart all bring plenty of talent to their roles. Reeser, in particular, is able to switch his persona from sensitive and thoughtful to maniacal and manipulative, coming off as a really well-portrayed villain. The scene at the end where he has Cecily trapped in her home, asking her if she’s David’s possession and reveals all of his tattoos is pretty intense. The meltdown that he’s been holding back explodes as the film races to its conclusion.

Things wrap up a little too neatly and I wish there was a bit more background about David’s past success to show just why he was so important to Javy, but the film’s still pretty interesting. Band dynamics, lead singer ego and the bond between fan and artist are all pretty powerful — so there’s already plenty of mull over here.

Dead Envy premieres tonight at the Arena Cinelounge Sunset in Hollywood for a one week run, then will be available as a video on demand starting September 3. Check out the official site for more info.

Disclaimer: I was sent this film by its PR team and in no way did that impact my review. Thanks!

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